Chennai International Airport (IATA: MAA, ICAO: VOMM) is the primary airport serving the South Indian metropolis of Chennai. The airport is spread across the suburban areas of Meenambakkam, Pallavaram and Tirusulam. For the Fiscal year 2014-15, it is the fourth busiest airport in India in terms of passenger traffic after Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and the third busiest after Delhi, Mumbai in terms of international passengers and cargo handled. In 2014-15, the airport handled 14.29 million passengers and about 342 aircraft movements per day. The airport is expected to reach saturation by 2016–17, necessitating the construction of a second airport.
The domestic and the international terminals are named after former chief ministers of Tamil Nadu K. Kamaraj and C. N. Annadurai respectively. It is the first airport in India to have international and domestic terminals located adjacent to each other. The airport serves as the regional headquarters of the Airports Authority of India for the southern region of India comprising the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Kerala and the union territories of Puducherry and Lakshadweep.
The airport serves as the main hub for SpiceJet, Jet Airways, Air Costa, Blue Dart Aviation and as a secondary hub for Air India. It also serves as focus city for GoAir and IndiGo.
The aviation history of the city began in 1910, when a city-based Corsican hotelier
Giacomo D’Angelis built an aircraft and tested it. Inspired by Louis Blériot, a Frenchman who was the first to fly across the English Channel in July 1909, D’Angelis collaborated with Simpson’s, a leading coach-builder in the city, to build a biplane. The biplane was built entirely from D’Angelis’s own designs, fitted with a small horse-power engine. Samuel John Green, a motor engineer at Simpson’s, helped with the manufacture and assembly of the biplane. On 10 March 1910, D’Angelis tested the aircraft in the suburb of Pallavaram, making it the first flight ever in Asia. While demonstrating it to the public during the ticketed show, he even took a person from the crowd on the aircraft as his passenger. Immediately, he also arranged a public viewing at the Island Grounds, charging entrance fees for the demonstration.
One more test flight was conducted at the Island Grounds in 1914, when J. W. Madley, a water works engineer, tested an aircraft assembled by him. He flew it over the Red Hills reservoir to inspect works and shot a couple of aerial photographs of the reservoir from
the aircraft. This incident kindled an interest in flying among prominent residents of the city, resulting in the arrival of a set of aviators in 1911 to display the flying machines they had brought with them to India as a marketing initiative. The aviators included Baron de Caters and Jules Tyck. On 15 February 1911, Tyck flew in a Bleriot aeroplane in front of the public. The aircraft was wheeled out by eight men with Tyck seated inside the craft wearing an oilskin coat and goggles. The men held the plane till its engine revved up and then let go, and the craft darted forward about 20 yards before rising into the air. In the air, the craft made a straight flight only for about three-quarters of the length of the ground and descended due to poor weather.
Tyck flew again the next day, this time reaching a height of 2,400 feet, which was witnessed by the then Governor of Madras Sir Arthur Lawley. Two days later, on 18 February, another demonstration was given by Baron de Caters, when he flew his aircraft in public.